Cultural Competence vs. Cultural Humility

Organizations are generally more culturally aware today than they were even a year ago. Or, at least, more leaders are aware that they need to be more culturally aware. Cultural competence and cultural humility are terms which have started to come up regularly in our professional conversations. Are we moving in the right direction?

What do we mean when we talk about cultural competence vs cultural humility? What are the differences between them and why do they matter for successful leadership? Finally, how can we put them into practice so that they benefit our leaders, team members and organizations?

More vulnerability makes for better leaders

As part of your workplace team dynamics, can you let down your guard, admit flaws, and ask for help?

For some of you, without hesitation, your answer is a resounding YES, but for others, this couldn’t be further from your truth, and the voice in your head is shouting, “Are you kidding? NEVER!” In your world, this level of vulnerability leads to personal humiliation or career suicide. It’s hard for anyone to tell the truth when the results of doing so might be punitive.

Making Friends with Fear

Why on earth would someone want to make friends with fear? Isn’t fear the enemy? A glimpse inside the minds of so many these days: “There’s too much to be afraid of these days: if I focus on fear I’ll never get anything done and I’m already struggling to be productive while working at home and what if I get COVID and I’m trying to corral the kids into online learning and, and, and…” (this is the abridged version).

The problem we have with fear is that we usually do everything within our power to avoid it. Unfortunately there is truth to the old adage, “what we resist, persists.” Fear is trying to tell us something, and the longer we resist it, the longer it takes to get the message. More on that in a minute. But first, it’s important to understand how fear can hijack the brain.

Shifting Your Mindset from Looking Good to Doing Good

This year we’ve seen powerful movements for social justice. Many brands have jumped on those bandwagons only to fall off (or get pushed off). One reason social justice messages aren’t landing well with organizations’ audiences is a perceived lack of authenticity on the part of the brand. If your organization isn’t solidly walking their talk, it’s time to think about shifting your mindset from looking good to doing good.

Prepping for End-of-Year Rituals

Let’s just say that 2020 has been a “notable” year.

When conducting year-in-reviews while preparing for the coming year, try a visual approach—one that you can apply to your personal or professional life. You may even want to share this with someone you manage or a colleague on your team.

Grab a pencil and take a deep breath

Allow yourself about 20-45 minutes for the initial activity. It’s a great way to gather your thoughts when preparing a more in-depth reporting for your year-end and a great visual to accompany a presentation if you are reporting up or out.

Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from Political Campaigns

From speeches to debates to emails to old-fashioned door-to-door canvassing—everything in a political campaign is designed to figure out how to get people to do things. Not just actual voting; it’s also about donating, volunteering and talking to your friends and family on the candidates’ behalf. This effort to influence behavior is very complementary to leadership.

I got a big, in-person lesson in all of this during this year’s election. For the first time, I volunteered for a campaign and went door-to-door to get out the vote. I learned so much about what it is that campaigns do to influence actions and change behavior and what we can learn from it.

How to Invite Team Leads to Be More Visible

In any growing organization, it’s important for team leaders to be visible. On the surface, this serves a practical purpose: the CEO simply can’t be the provider of and answer for all things, so team leaders can help fill that gap.

More importantly, coaxing team leads into more visible leadership fosters stronger communication, engagement, culture and purpose throughout the organization. And it sets up the leadership team to take on a bigger role and, ultimately, grow beyond the organization.

How Your Mindsets Can Hold You Back

Your mindsets are one of the most important enablers of your success as a leader—and they can be hard to shift because according to my colleague, Ryan Gottfredson, they are the lenses through which you view your team members, your organization, outside events – everything. Just like a pair of glasses, most of the time you aren’t even aware they are there.

As a leader, your mindsets impact how receptive you are to considering new information that contradicts your current understanding. How you handle that will in turn affect your decision making. It makes the difference between you drawing more reality-based vs. ego-based conclusions.

Strategic Planning in Uncertain Times

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is a Yiddish adage that translates to “Man plans, and God laughs.” Rarely has that adage ever been more relevant than it is right now. With so much uncertainty surrounding us, it might feel as if planning is a fool’s errand. Yet we still have to make an attempt to plan and strategize how best to fulfill our missions.

Showing Up Online

Everything looks and feels different with offices running remotely, and no one can really predict when or if we’ll return to our regular desks.

The biggest challenge isn’t productivity, as many executives feared. Instead, it’s presence. We simply cannot be present online like we can in person.

And sometimes, that means you have to work a little harder at it.